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My Oh My, How Flight Has Changed Since the 1950s

29 Jul Delta Air Line In-Flight Report From 1951

Delta Air Line In-Flight Report From 1951
An in-flight report from 1951

Over the past month, I went on a mission to research commercial flight in its early years. Commercial aviation took off right after World World II, when the excess of jet-engine-powered aircrafts and leisurely time made flying a newfound excitement around the country and world.

I spoke with a number of people about the topic, including early flight attendants and airline passengers, one of which told me that due to the lack of PA systems, when the engines were too noisy, the attendant would pass around pieces of paper with the flight crew’s names and the destination city’s weather conditions.

Since he shared that story, I couldn’t stop imagining what that paper might have looked like – was it hand-written, printed, white, off-white, letter-headed, signed, dated, scented?

Today I received an email from a Delta Air Lines archivist, passing along the above image of an in-flight report, the piece of paper my interviewee had told me about. As it turns out, it was beautifully illustrated and hand-written. I most love that it points out the “next point of interest” for passengers peering out the window, a pastime I’m told was popular in the early days of air travel, when seat-back entertainment and in-flight WiFi were not yet the norms.

I’m consistently amazed by the power of the Internet. With just one post, I wondered what this piece of paper of a bygone period looked like, and the next day, the answer was in my inbox. The world is a beautiful place. Thank you, universe and Delta Air Lines archivist.

Comparing Obama and Romney’s Schooling Years

2 Nov

Education plays a big role in my life. I grew up in Arkansas, my family bobbing above and below the poverty line throughout my childhood — from a very early age, I knew that education was going to be the determining factor of my success in life.

I studied hard, took Advanced Placement courses in high school, attended America’s “dream school,” and am now in the process of applying for graduate school.

Education has made all the difference in my life. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college, and at 26 years old, I’ve accomplished a lot more with the cards the world dealt me than would have seemed possible.

Though education has been a central pillar in my life, I had never thought to take a look at the educational backgrounds of the world’s top leaders and compare them to my own schooling. Until now, I found it presumable that most of America’s presidents probably attended elite colleges and graduate programs, but I hadn’t thought about the full picture, beyond secondary school.

That all changed this week, though, when I came across the below infographic that takes a look at the educational backgrounds of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. While I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that both candidates attended elite elementary schools, I couldn’t help but to be taken back a bit.

Yes, education is important. But when does the choice of attending a particular school over others start to become pivotal in a person’s success trajectory? Pre-school? Kindergarten? Middle school? High school? College? Or is a person’s success determined by many other factors beyond their schooling, such as his or her will to succeed and break molds?

I’m sure this question and others that I’ve been pondering as a result of this infographic are ripe for debate, and there’s no doubt that America’s education system still has a long way to go before every student is served well from the day they enter school until the day they graduate.

I’m not really going to get into all of those discussions, though. I merely wanted to share this infographic with you, which looks at the entirety of Obama and Romney’s schooling. Very interesting read. If you have any thoughts to add, please do comment below!

Enjoy, and feel free to enlarge the infographic by clicking here or on the image.

Image courtesy of Cain and Todd Benson and infographic courtesy of Degree Jungle

Where To Find Me at SXSW 2012

3 Mar

I’m super excited about SXSW 2012, as it marks a few milestones for me:

I could go on about how many firsts I’ll be having at SXSW, but I won’t bore you — it really does seem like a whole different experience from the first time I attended SXSW in 2010, though.

Anyway, I wanted to share my 2012 schedule with the Internetz. So, here’s where you can find me for SXSW this year:

Speaking About Brand Journalism

I’ll be speaking on a panel about “Brand Journalism in the Real World.” This session will focus not only on defining brand journalism, but also will go in-depth on what brand journalism looks like in action, how organizations can incorporate editorial practices and how traditional journalists can make the shift. The panel will be moderated by MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley and will feature the wisdom of Twitter’s Editorial Director Karen Wickre, Eloqua’s in-house reporter Jesse Noyes, and myself.

Throwing a Sunday Brunch

As director of community at Contently, I’m heading up the planning for our Sunday brunch meetup. In celebration of launching the Freelance Writers Meetup, we’re bringing together a room full of top journalists to gather over a full Texas brunch buffet, all the mimosas you can down in two hours, and the brilliant wisdom of Ben Parr — former Mashable editor, startup entrepreneur, and CNET and CBSi columnist.

Special thanks to Contently co-founder Shane Snow and the stellar team at Jones-Dilworth for helping put this event together. And Ben, thank you for joining us to share the story of your awesomeness!

Attending Parties Galore

While I haven’t planned out which panels I’m attending yet, I already have my top party picks aligned. Go figure, right? You can find me sipping on root beers — and beers of all types — at the following fine festivities:

Getting Educated at Panels

This year, I’m covering SXSW for Forbes, NASDAQ and The Content Strategist. Here are some panels and classes that I will be attending:

Am I Missing Anything Serious?

Given my schedule above, does it look like I’m missing something crucial? If so, let me know about it in the comments below! We only get one shot at SXSW 2012, people! Let’s make it count!

Faisal Shahzad’s Headline Photo is Sourced from Orkut

5 May

A screenshot of Faisal Shahzad's image on NYTimes.com, as sourced from Orkut.com

The recent creation of Facebook Open Graph opened a whole new can of worms regarding privacy on social networks. Now more than ever, the world is all a-buzz about privacy. But what about privacy for criminal suspects?

Faisal Shahzad, the suspect who admitted to attempting to explode a bomb in Times Square on May 1st, has been pictured across multiple news sites. Most of the pictures being used to depict the suspect are from Orkut and Facebook, social networking sites that Mr. Shahzad maintained profiles on. From a quick search on both sites, I couldn’t seem to find his profiles. But somehow, news agencies have managed to locate his photos and post them alongside the latest headlines.

How could an individual with a plan to unleash bombs in Times Square leave his online social presence completely unprotected from the media? Was he oblivious to the fact that his photos might some day be shared on national television and across the web without his authorization after his attempts at mass destruction? Or did he actually unknowingly give authorization to both sites to share his content with the world? Were the privacy settings too difficult to understand?

Maybe it was just that the default settings said, “Yes! Please obliterate my right to privacy,” and Mr. Shahzad didn’t realize it. Whatever the reason, I am amused to see “Orkut.com” as the source of these photos.

What are your thoughts on news sites sourcing Orkut and Facebook for photos? Do you think there are any privacy implications?

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